Manor F1 team replace Haryanto with Ocon

Wed Aug 10, 2016 7:24am EDT
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(Reuters) - French teenager Esteban Ocon will replace Rio Haryanto at Manor Racing for the rest of the season after the Indonesian driver failed to secure the financial backing needed to retain his seat.

The British-based Formula One team said in a statement on Wednesday that Ocon, 19, will make his race debut in the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps on Aug. 28 alongside Germany's Pascal Wehrlein.

Haryanto, his country's first Formula One driver, was offered the role of reserve for the remaining nine races.

"(Manor) has taken the decision to terminate Rio Haryanto's race contract after he was unable to meet his contractual obligations," the statement said.

Haryanto, who has been backed by Indonesia's state-owned oil company Pertamina, made his race debut with Mercedes-powered Manor at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix in March.

However, his contract depended on raising substantial further funding.

"Some time ago his management indicated that they were experiencing difficulties honouring the obligations of that contract beyond (last month's) Hungarian Grand Prix," said Manor's racing director Dave Ryan.

"Rio's team have worked tirelessly to try to resolve that situation with his Indonesian backers and we have supported those efforts as much as possible, including allowing Rio to race in Germany.

"Unfortunately we reached a point where, in the best interests of the team, we were forced to explore other options for the remainder of the season."   Continued...

Renault Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn (2ndR), Renault Formula One racing driver Kevin Magnussen of Denmark (R) and teammate Jolyon Palmer of Britain (2ndL), and reserve driver Esteban Ocon (L) pose during the official presentation of the new Renault RS16 car at the company's research center, the Technocentre, in Guyancourt, near Paris, France, February 3, 2016. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier